Coasters offer many ideas for improvement

16 May 2023
Takiwā Poutini
West Coasters want improved access to health, support, events, community spaces, a whanau-centred approach and better preparedness for emergencies.

Coasters were asked to give the Takiwā Poutini programme their ideas for improving health and wellbeing recently throughout the region.

Takiwā Poutini Governance Group Chair Kevin Hague says Programme Manager Vicki Roper facilitated 29 community sessions from Haast to Karamea and inland, and an online survey is about to close and has shown similar key themes.

“We’ve gone out asking what really matters – to individuals, to whànau and families, and to communities, and what would make things better in terms of wellbeing,” he says.

Key themes the community told us about included:

  • Timely access to consistent GP / primary care
  • Reduction of transport and cost of care as barriers to access
  • Whānau-centred approach to health care and wellbeing service provision
  • Planning / preparedness for natural disasters and emergencies – and the impacts of climate change
  • More outdoor fun and recreation activities; e.g. cycle lanes, health and fitness programmes
  • More community safe spaces for connection / communities to meet and hold events
  • Housing issues were mentioned by many respondents, with a severe lack of healthy affordable homes being a priority
  • With the cost of living and a higher inflation rate, food security is likely to become a higher priority.

Takiwā Poutini is one of 12 initial prototypes around the country aimed at developing a new health and wellbeing system. Te Tai o Poutini (West Coast) is New Zealand’s most rurally remote locality, which makes equity and access to health and wellbeing services significantly challenging to solve.

Mr Hague says the programme has deliberately taken a “co-design” approach, giving iwi and communities a strong voice in deciding what’s needed in their local area.

“We’ll be going back to each community to check we’ve properly summarised their local input, and we have collated further feedback since our drop-in sessions. We are also drawing on other wellbeing and health studies undertaken over the past year or so.

“A key part of the Takiwā Poutini programme is that it involves different organisations working together better to improve people’s experiences and health and wellbeing outcomes. So we’ve started looking at what people have said to plan how we can improve services across health, government agencies, with iwi and local councils all involved to come up with new ways of doing things.

“There’s already some good work going on, so we will use that as models for improving other areas. What many people have said to us is that they’ve been asked this sort of thing before and what will really make a difference is actually making some changes. We’ve well and truly heard that, and we will be making sure that we produce new ways of doing things across the Coast, and ultimately making lives better.”

An in-depth report on findings is available on

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